Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I'd just remembered that there was a link to some of David Foster Wallace's writings for Harper's, and I went over there and was reading Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. Holy Krakatau, that second little interview, that is the funniest thing I think I've ever read in my entire life.


I'll be shouting that at inappropriate times, probably for the rest of my life now. Speaking of inappropriate, what the what is going on in this country? Yo, it's time to chill back with the rhetoric, Republicans. See, the way this process works is we have elections, and after those elections the elected officials do this thing we call governing. Maybe you remember that your version of that included ramming through two massive tax cuts via the reconciliation process (yes, both of the Bush tax cuts were passed using this process and were substantially more expensive than this bill as well as sold with numbers way flimsier than the CBO's on this) and starting a war with Iraq against the wishes of a whole shitload more in the streets protesters than the tea party movement even has members.

Now, you'll also remember a lot of overheated rhetoric about Bush being Hitler and stuff like that. But, and here's the difference, while there was some vandalism related to the protests, there were no shots fired at the offices of representatives, no death threats, no fake anthrax, no Christian militias planning to kill law enforcement officials. There were mostly orderly protests that numbered in the hundreds of thousands of people in any given place or time. And there were thoughtful articles about how apparently protesting had lost it's efficacy because it was no longer so novel. As it turns out, that's not entirely true. It's just progressive (wait, isn't that a code word for baby killing mother raping nazi zombie warlords from the 5th dimension?!!?) protesting that's no longer novel.

The tea party protests, although numerically not even in the realm of a 1/10th of the sheer numbers that went out to protest the Iraq war, because of the novelty of conservative protesters and the blunt force trauma that is Fox news's effect on television news more widely, were quite effective last year in taking a hugely popular issue such as health care reform and making it only marginally popular. Just so we're clear, the numbers, given the margin of error in national polling, were never any worse than about fifty/fifty.

So, this notion that health care reform was rammed through, all I can say is you get what you give. You want to work in a Bi-partisan manor, well, as the minority party, you need to come to the table first and make a few concessions. Otherwise get the fuck out the way cause we're coming through. The Obama express has left the station.


Okay, taking it down a notch here. It's been some biblical rain here in the northeast. We're about to set a record today for rainfall both for the day and for the month. Flooding everywhere. It's not good. Usually, I'm kind of a rainy day guy, but apparently even I can have too much rain. Good to know.

So, let's see. We're setting records for rain this spring. Last year we had an ice storm that killed like 200 hundred people (I pulled that number out of my arse, so...) and left about a million without power for up to three or four weeks, and the year before that we set the record for most snow in a single month for the month of december (and can I tell you how shitty it is trying to park in a city that has 8 hundred gazillion pounds of snow piled up everywhere).

Alright, no more harping on my progressive (nazi surf zombie) agenda. I'm working on some interesting things academically. I've developed a theory about dissonance reduction strategies and the efficacy of meditation or spiritual practices more widely and there facilitation of creativity, which is part of a more broad idea about how implicit philosophies (beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, etc.) effect the potentialites of peak spiritual experience, which, of course, fits also in a theory I have about how those philosophies can in fact affect an emotional experience that gets misinterpreted as a spiritual experience. So, I'll be running a pilot study on dissonance reduction strategies. And just assuming I'm right about all the rest.

I've also got this idea in my head which is gonna be kind of a driving force in my mathematical studies (which have been going backward for the most part for the past few months), which is this idea of somehow using statistical tools such as significance and meta- and regression analyses to develop a means to push beyond the simplistic cause/effect that is the heart of psychological study. I have three basic ideas in my head, causal clusters, causal chains, and multi-layered causality. The third is more about explaining causality at multiple levels of abstraction, which at some stage has to become the standard, neuro-psyiologically, psychologically, sociologically, etc. and has been my mantra for some many years now. The first two are about looking at causal activations inter-temporally as well as, potentially, how at any given temporal moment any number of causal factors come together to cause action, reaction, emotion, thought, what have you. It's not clear yet how this all works, but somehow, well, sometimes I have some ideas, other times I think I'm just tilting at windmills again. Always tilting.

Also, my other mantras:
Respect the principle of progressive overload
Soften, straighten, and run through the middle (my running mantra [yo, it works, I ran like seven or eight miles the other day and barely broke a sweat {but as per mantra #1, I was feelin' it the next day}])
The harried man works three times as hard, and remembers only about half of it.

I try and repeat these when I'm pushing to hard, getting impatient, or losing the good running form that takes a whole lot more concentration than you might think (or than you might need if you weren't, like, so slouch-a-daisical).

Okay, then.
Currently reading:
The Second Sex- Simone De Beauvoir
The sociology of Philosophies- Randall Collins
Cognitive Dissonance- Leon Festinger
Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the sinking of the World Economy -Joseph Stiglitz
The Big Picture: Money and Power in Hollywood- Edward Jay Epstein
Mind Wide Open: The Neuroscience of Everyday Life- Steven Johnson
Parzival- Wolfram Von Essenbach
Spiritual Genius- Winifred Gallagher
1776- David McCoullough
Just finished- Merchant of Dreams by Charles Hingham, an autobio of Louis B. Mayer (fascinating character, really horribly written book [I don't know what the deal is, but pretty much all of the autobios on early movie studio execs have been both fascinating and really badly written])


No comments: